11th May 2017 – Dried Fruits Market in a Balanced State

Global dried fruit markets remain quiet with no reports of shortages of raw material other than Greek currants and a healthy balance between supply and demand. This has meant that prices are stable and in some cases, have even reduced over the past few days where producers are keen to sell and reduce their inventories of raw material.

Dried vine fruits come from a number of different producing countries with Turkey continuing to be the most important producer for the UK dried fruit industry. California is also a major producer of raisins and a small quantity of US “Zante” currants. As reported last week, however, US producers have put greater emphasis on US producers suppling Asian markets rather than their traditional European buyers. This has resulted in steady export sales for US raisins but a decline in quantities for the UK and European markets.

This year Turkey has had good sales of dark coloured sultanas and genuine Thompson seedless raisins which have been well received by the British dried fruit industry. There is a significant difference in cost between Turkish raisins and the equivalent US or South African fruit. At present Turkish Thompson seedless raisins are available, albeit in limited quantities, at around US$1350 – US$1400 pmt FOB Izmir. In contrast US raisins are available at between US$2100 – US$2150 pmt C&F Felixstowe.

Our correspondent in Cape Town advises that sales of South African raisins and currants have picked up in recent days and most major packers predict that they will be fully sold out by July or early August. The good news however, is that there are still available quantities of golden raisins, although demand will increase for these once Ramadan gets under way.

Exports of Turkish sultanas and raisins have reached about 188,000 metric tonnes as at end of April 2017 compared to 135,000 metric tonnes as at end of April 2016. The total 2016 crop was approximately 350,000 metric tonnes, so it is expected that there may be upwards of 70,000 tonnes still available at the end of the season as a carry-over. It is also reported that Taris, the growers
co-operative still has over 12,000 tonnes of 2015 crop fruit available to sell. Berry count for standard size Turkish sultanas has been smaller this year but because the new crop is expected to be less, predictions are that for the 2017 crop will have a berry count of 260-320 berries per 100g. It is reported that only limited quantities of type no 10 and type no 11 sultanas remain, so better grades of new crop fruit will be at a premium, once the harvest has been completed in August.

News from Malatya, in Turkey, suggests that this year’s crop of Turkish apricots continues to be free from frost so prices of Turkish apricots remain on a downward track. Exports to date have reached 61,000 metric tonnes which will mean a modest carry-in at the end of the season.

Turkish fig prices remain firm with very few offers of good quality natural or Lerida figs available. As a price indication, natural no 6 Turkish figs are being quoted at between US$4500 – US$4750 pmt FOB Izmir. Total exports of Turkish figs have reached just over 42,000 metric tonnes with retail figs accounting for 35,000 tonnes and fig paste for 4500 tonnes.

Offers of Greek currants remain few and far between, with a notional price of around Euros 1800 – Euros 1850 pmt FOB Piraeus for provincial quality fruit. Few shortages have been reported on the UK spot market to date, although as time passes expectations are that prices will increase from today levels as buyers seek to cover their requirements through until early October when the first new crop arrivals become available.